The story we're sold about love usually doesn't go past the exposition. The part people write about and talk about and make films about is the seeking, finding, losing and finding again.
We talk about heartbreak and loss, and how we grapple with ourselves and our partners, but we don't talk about the mundane, the ordinary, the everyday lives we ultimately settle back into once the firework show has ended.
Because we're conditioned to think that the chase and the thrill and the acquisition of love is love itself, we're hooked on ideas more than we are open to connection.
We aren't willing to do the work. Work isn't romantic. Work isn't fun.
Here are all the signs that you're already in the right relationship. It's just a matter of seeing it through.
1. You feel at peace.
In any other situation, this would put you at ease. But lately, it's left you questioning whether or not that romantic spark still exists.
The truth is that the kind of love that lasts, the kind on which you build a respectful, intimate, real relationship, makes you feel at peace.
It's more comfort than it is panic and thrill. There's a difference between settling into comfort and settling for less than a love that makes you feel like your best, most grounded self.
2. You know how to resolve your old relationship patterns.
When you arrive at the point that you're able to recognize a pattern emerging, you're also at the point where you're ready to let it go.
Often in the best relationships, these issues stand front-and-center. It's never a matter of whether or not you experience them, but whether or not you resolve them.
3. You realize that nobody is responsible for your happiness but you.
When most people give up on love, it's because they've reached the point at which the other person doesn't make them happy.
The harsh reality is that nobody else can make you happy — not consistently, anyway. Regardless, that's never something you should rely on.
Unhappy periods will come and go, but your bond has to be stronger.
The key to that is fueling your own gas tank; as anyone in a long-term relationship can tell you, it's unrealistic attachment and expectation that sinks the ship faster than anything else.
4. You have an unprecedented level of acceptance for one another.
This is often an overlooked quality for a relationship, but it's an important one.
The right relationship is the one in which you have a mutual acceptance and respect for one another.
In other words, you're not trying to change each other. You don't tease each other for the little things.
You see who the person is in their entirety, not just the parts you'd prefer.
5. You want the same things in the long-term.
There are so many crucial practicalities when it comes to choosing a life partner who's suited for you, though none of them seem very romantic on the surface.
One of the most important is whether or not you want the same things in the big picture: kids or dogs or both? Suburbs or city?
If any one person has to compromise a fundamental part of the life they want to live for the sake of the relationship, it likely won't work out.
6. You both want to make it work.
All relationships have issues. Making it through them is usually only a matter of whether or not both parties have a deep, innate desire to do so.
There's a lot of work, compromise and sacrifice that goes into fostering a healthy, loving bond, and if you aren't willing to give it all you have, you probably won't make it through the trials that you will inevitably face.